news\ Apr 4, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Inafune: Japanese developers must break 'through the stagnation' to succeed

Keiji Inafune

Keiji Inafune is admitting the weaknesses of his fellow Japanese gamemakers. The industry in Japan is in trouble.

“Overseas media have been asking the same question for a long time: Is Japan’s game industry okay? Are Japanese brand games dead? The fact they’ve been asking these questions for a while is because they care, and they’re worried about it,” he told IGN.

"Words are not enough," he said, considering those who believe the Japanese game industry is fine. "We must act and prove it."

But not everyone outside of Japan has nice words to say. At last year's Game Developers Conference, Fez creator Phil Fish told a Japanese developer that their "games just suck." In an interview one month later, Inafune responded by saying "that's what's necessary."

He said, "When [Japanese people are] embarrassed, and they feel obliged to change, it would make a difference."

Now Inafune is saying that developers in Japan need to learn from those overseas, but "their pride gets in the way," he said. He added, "As a result, they end up staying in the domestic market rather than going global.”

He said, "I hope Japanese game developers are breaking through the stagnation. However, the reality isn’t as good as I want it to be. I see they’re starting to be aware of the problem and that they have to do something. They know they have to learn more from Western games and create games that’ll sell more in the Western market. However, they don’t know what to do or how to do it.”

This line of thinking matches what Inafune said recently about why the Xbox 360 has failed in Japan.

"As a Japanese [person], I think it’s only natural you feel closer or attached more to domestic products, and I find myself being that way too," he said. "When you see two products with similar features and one is from your own country and the other is from foreign countries, it’s easy to pick the one from your own country."

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Stephanie Carmichael Twitter: @wita
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